Best team ever? Doubtful.
Greatest season yet? Maybe.
Fabulous way to spit-yell the hours away with an argument that cannot be won?
Everyone wants to decide if this 12-win Fresno State football team is the best in school history (it’s not), because no one in these parts can be happy that what they have is great enough and leave it at that.
These Buldogs were really, really good. There, I said it … for, like the fifth time this season, but that regurgitated compliment was for those who can only see the dark clouds in all my silver linings.
Their 12 victories are most in school history. That, there is no disputing. But you’ve got to remember, it took them 14 games to get there, and only five other ancestors got that many tries – heck, Jim Sweeney won 11 of 12 three times, and would have loved one more crack at it.
The point is, there is no such thing as best ever, not when it comes to the subjective history of Fresno State football. Not without an undefeated record with a New Year’s Bowl victory to settle the score. See Boise State, Fiesta Bowl, who cares what year because this isn’t about them.
How to decide?
We can take up Derek Carr on his offer to get the 2013 band back together again for a friendly. At least we know he’d sell out Bulldog Stadium, because he’s the only who sells out Bulldog Stadium since he left.
Or, we can decide there’s more best-evers than one, because of course there are.
Best team? By record, the 1961 Bulldogs, no doubt. They went 10-0 with a Mercy Bowl victory. We even like the 1985 Bulldogs, who went 11-0-1. I can hear Sweeney bellowing for a rematch as we speak.
Best team? By local impact, the 1992 Bulldogs, no doubt. They beat USC in the Freedom Bowl. No one cares that the Trojans were a .500 team. Fresno State beat U-S-C. The Bulldogs as a college football program finally arrived.
Best team? By national impact, the 2001 Bulldogs. David Carr and Pat Hill beat nationally ranked Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. No other team around here has knocked off three Top 25 Big Schools in a single year, let alone a month. They put this program on the cover of Sports Illustrated. They reached No. 8 in the national poll. Next question.
Best team? To watch, the 2013 Bulldogs. Derek Carr was putting basketball totals on the scoreboard. Carr to Davante Adams was the surest thing going. They were so fun, you even hurled millions of nonrefundable dollars at coach Tim DeRuyter, and we mean you, Mr. School President.
Best team? In defeat, the 2005 Bulldogs. That 50-42 loss at USC remains one of the top three games in school history. We’re talking about taking the top-ranked defending national champions to the final play. So what if the Bulldogs imploded from there; you will never, ever forget this team because of that game.
Best team? By grand finales, no one can touch the 2004 Bulldogs. That MPC Computers Bowl victory over Virginia was elite. I was there. Virginia was great. Fresno State was greater.
Where does that leave the 2018 Bulldogs?
Best season is a hamstring pull because they only beat one Top 25 team. Best local impact falls short because they never came close to selling out the stadium, so how interested was everyone?
Best team? In rivalry, absolutely. They will forever be known as the team that finally beat Boise State at Boise State. In the snow. Uphill. Both ways.
Their prize? The best national ranking in the final polls, if form holds.
Not bad at all.
1. Can’t decide if Fresno State men’s basketball is really that good, or if Cal and the other skins they’ve faced are really not. Can’t wait to see when No. 6 Nevada comes to town Jan. 12. The Bulldogs might not win, but close will tell volumes re: where they stand.
2. Please, please don’t let the Oakland Raiders squat at AT&T Park before they slum it to Las Vegas. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1984. All the pressure wash in the world won’t get that stink out of the carpet. Don’t you like yourself, Giants?
3. The Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig to the Reds. One less reason to hate the Dodgers, but don’t worry, we’ll find a way. When it comes to the Blue, we always do.